With the massive changes and developments that came with the war
effort, there was a great deal of optimism about the future of
aviation in Canada. As early as 1943, Trans Canada Air Lines (TCA)
was offering transcontinental travel and international flights.
At the same time, Canadian Pacific was making plans to expand
its services with the end of the war. There were very optimistic
discussions about the expansion and growth of civil aviation
after the war, with predictions of the expansion of private
flying, and the extensive use of air travel by civilian travellers.
The end of the Second World War saw the majority of air
travel taken over by national airlines with numerous small
carriers serving local needs.
Airports needed runways and taxiways that could support the
heavy aircraft used by TCA. The Calgary airport did not have
runways that were acceptable, but city council did not plan on
upgrading them unless it was absolutely necessary. By 1947, the Department of
Transport finally upgraded one runway, allowing TCA to land.
Other centres, like Lethbridge, had service by TCA because
they had the facilities needed, but this was short lived after
runways were improved in Calgary, and air traffic was diverted
to that city. Communities like Medicine Hat, Red Deer, and
Lethbridge lost their service from TCA as the larger aircraft no
longer needed the frequent stops of the earlier era. The new,
larger and more powerful aircraft used by airlines like TCA no
longer had to fly along the Crowsnest Pass since they could fly
over the top of the mountains.
Calgary’s airport had seen improvements in lighting,
facilities and expansion of the offices of TCA. In 1949, the
City of Calgary took back control of the airport from the
Department of Transport.
Medicine Hat complained to the provincial government in 1950
that the loss of their air service was dangerous, and they
should have access to the air ambulance in cases of medical
emergencies. This contention was dismissed since there was a
wide availability of private airplanes, and in all cases of
emergencies, local private aircraft had been used.
Small regional companies in areas like Grande Prairie and
Peace River tried to gain a foothold, but found it very
difficult and did not continue. There were a number of factors
for this, one being that private resource companies operating in
the north bought their own aircraft and hired their own pilots.
The second aspect that had an impact on these small companies
was the proliferation of privately owned aircraft across
Alberta. Many enthusiasts attained their private aircraft
licenses and purchased a Tiger Moth, a common training aircraft
used during the BCATP, that was sold as surplus after the war.
||A commemorative plate with the
following inscription on the back: Plate No. 6796A in
the limited edition of "We See Thee Rise" by David